Shaddai

Learn Hebrew

Audio Tanakh

Hebrew for Christians
BS''D
1.11  Grammatical Functions of Letters

Hebrew Consonants -

Printer-Friendly Version

Common Grammatical Functions of the Hebrew Letters

Four grammatical categories of letters can be made of the twenty two consonants of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet:

  1. Root letter only
  2. Prefix letter (or root letter)
  3. Suffix letter (or prefix letter or root letter)
  4. Infix letter (or suffix letter, prefix letter, or root letter)

Category One: Root Letter Only

Though all letters of the Hebrew alphabet can be used to form the shoresh or root of a word, 12 letters (indicated in the table below as shaded items) can ONLY be used as root letters:

Gray Highlight = Root Letter ONLY

Root Letters

Example:

Fey, Sin, and Tet are the root letters
(the Lamed at the beginning is a prefix letter).

Category Two: Root Letter OR Prefix

The four highlighted letters can serve two functions: they may be either a root letter (see above) or they may be a prefix before the first letter of a root letter:

Yellow highlight = Prefix or root letter

Prefix Letters

Prefix Meanings:

Hebrew letters functioning as prefixes are called Otiyot HaShimush (אוֹתִיּוֹת הַשִּׁמּוּש).

Category Three: Prefix OR Suffix

The five green-highlighted letters can serve two functions: they may be either a root letter (see above) or they may be either prefix before the first letter of a root letter or a suffix:

Green Highlight = Prefix or Suffix letter

Prefix or Suffix Letters

Prefix/Suffix Meanings:

Category Four: Prefix OR Suffix OR Infix

Vav and Yod are undoubtedly the most flexible letters of the Hebrew Aleph-Bet, functioning as root letters, prefixes, suffixes, and infixes.

Blue highlight = prefix, infix, or suffix

Vav and Yod

Return to Unit One
 

 

Hebrew for Christians
Copyright © John J. Parsons
All rights reserved.

email